How Everyone In Netflix’s The Devil All The Time Is Connected

The new Netflix movie The Devil All the Time spans 20 years in the lives of several people living in small towns in southern Ohio and West Virginia. There are two families — the Russells and the Lafertys — a serial killing married couple, and an evil pastor. All of their stories are interconnected, with some characters played by different actors at different points in their life. So, if you need help keeping track of everything you watched in The Devil All the Time, let us lend a helping hand.

The movie is an adaptation of a novel by Donald Ray Pollock, who, in a cool move, is also the narrator of the film. Pollock is from the real town of Knockemstiff, Ohio, which is one of the settings of the story. But The Devil All the Time tells a very disturbing tale about Knockemstiff and a couple of other nearby towns. All of the main characters are involved in violent and traumatizing situations, involving religion, war, family, death, and fate.

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"Four hundred or so people lived in Knockemstiff in 1957," Pollack reads at the beginning of the film, "nearly all of them connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another, be it lust or necessity or just plain ignorance."

Warning: Spoilers are ahead.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Arvin Russell (Played By Tom Holland & Michael Banks Repeta)


Arvin, Explained
At the center of the story is Arvin Russell, who is the son of World War II veteran Willard, and a diner waiter named Charlotte. As a young boy, he experiences traumatizing situations with his father and mother that include violence, Christianity, and loss. These shape his future as we see him in the second half of the story as an 18-year-old. Arvin lives in Knockemstiff as a child, but moves to Coal Creek, West Virginia.

The Actors' Best Known Roles
Young Arvin is played by Michael Banks Repeta, who was previously on Manhunt and The Outsider, while older Arvin is played by Spider-Man himself Tom Holland.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Willard Russell (Played By Bill Skarsgård)


Willard, Explained
Willard Russell is Arvin's dad, who is from Coal Creek. He returns strongly to Christianity after his wife, Charlotte, gets sick. The way he expresses his religion is violent and obsessive, and he traumatizes Arvin in the process.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Bill Skarsgård plays Willard. The Swedish actor is best known for playing Pennywise in the It movies and also for starring in Castle Rock.
Photo: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images.

Charlotte Russell (Played By Haley Bennett)


Charlotte, Explained
Charlotte Russell meets Willard after he returns from WWII while she's working at a restaurant. They end up getting married and welcome a son, Arvin. She is a bright spot in Arvin's life, until she gets sick while he is still a child.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Charlotte is played by Haley Bennett, who you may know from The Magnificent Seven and The Girl on the Train.
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Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images.

Lenora Laferty (Played By Eliza Scanlen & Ever Eloise Landrum)


Lenora, Explained
Moving on from the Russell family, there's Lenora Laferty, whose life mirrors Arvin's in the story. She is the daughter of a preacher named Roy and a devout member of the town's church named Helen. When Lenora becomes an orphan, she is sent to live with Arvin's grandmother (Kristin Griffith), who later takes him in, as well. Lenora and Arvin are then raised like siblings.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Eliza Scanlen, who starred as Beth March in 2019's Little Women, plays teenage Lenora, while Ever Eloise Landrum (Dark Circles) plays Lenora as a child.
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.

Helen Laferty (Played By Mia Wasikowska)


Helen, Explained
Lenora's mother is Helen, who is devoted to her husband, Roy, and the church, until she meets her end in a startlingly violent way. When Willard returns from the war, we find out that his mother promised God that if he returned safely, she would get him to marry Helen, but they end up with other people instead.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Mia Wasikowska plays Helen. The Australian actor previously starred in the Alice in Wonderland movies, Jane Eyre, and Crimson Peak.
Photo: Matt Crossick/Getty Images.

Roy Laferty (Played By Harry Melling)


Roy, Explained
Roy Laferty is a preacher, who is a newcomer to Coal Creek and stuns the congregation by pouring a jar of spiders on his head to prove his faith. Without sharing too many spoilers, his ways of proving his faith only grow more extreme and violent.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Roy is played by Harry Melling, who is best known for his role as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. If you haven't seen him in anything else, seeing what he's up to in The Devil All the Time will be especially shocking.
Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images.

Sandy Henderson (Played By Riley Keough)


Sandy, Explained
We first see Sandy Henderson working at the same diner as Charlotte. On the same day that Willard meets Charlotte, Sandy meets a man named Carl, who she learns is a photographer. Soon, Carl and Sandy are married... and have become serial killers. They go on road trips to hunt down hitchhikers and take photos of them during and after sexually assaulting and killing them. Sandy and Carl end up crossing paths with both Roy and Arvin, and we also find out that Sandy's brother, Lee, is the town sheriff.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Sandy is played by Riley Keough, who has previously had roles in Magic Mike, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Logan Lucky.
Photo: Valerie Macon/Getty Images.

Carl Henderson (Played By Jason Clarke)


Carl, Explained
Carl is Sandy's husband, and is more into their murderous lifestyle than she is. While Sandy eventually expresses regrets and doesn't want to continue on, it's said in the film that Carl gets his only pleasure in life from killing.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Carl is played by Jason Clarke, who is known for Mudbound, Zero Dark Thirty, and Pet Sematary, among others.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Sheriff Lee Bodecker (Played By Sebastian Stan)


Lee, Explained
Lee Bodecker is a sheriff and the brother of Sandy. Lee is corrupt and looking to be reelected, so he turns a blind eye when he feels that Sandy and her husband are up to something suspicious. He crosses paths Arvin when Arvin is a child, and they later face off at the end of the movie when Arvin is an adult.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Sebastian Stan plays Lee, which is quite a departure from his best known role as Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actors is also known for playing Jeff Gillooly in I, Tonya.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Reverend Preston Teagardin (Played By Robert Pattinson)


Preston, Explained
Preston Teagardin comes to Coal Creek as a new preacher, who raises suspicions from Arvin immediately, especially after he insults his grandmother's cooking. Teagardin starts sexually abusing teenage Lenora, among other girls in the town, and when Arvin finds out, he seeks vengeance.

The Actor's Best Known Roles
Robert Pattinson plays Reverend Teagardin with an interesting take on a West Virginian accent. Pattinson is, of course, best known for the Twilight movies, but this part fits in more with his recent, more eccentric roles.
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